Producer Daniel Stoddart believes Newcastle is only "5000 tickets" or a "week of shows" away from having a professional theatre company in the city.
On Monday Newcastle's The Stoddart Entertainment Group and The Very Popular Theatre Company launched the upcoming musical, Superstars, with a special preview at Christ Church Cathedral.
Musical theatre heavyweights Marina Prior, Silvie Paladino, Joshua Robson and Chloe Zuel will appear in Superstars alongside a local cast of Katie Blaxland, Tayla Choice, Thomas James, Jon Murphy, Layla Schillert, Amy Vee, Marty Worrall and Danny Folpp.
Stoddart said theatre-goers can expect "all the bangers" from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's most famous shows like Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Chess, Phantom of the Opera and The Lion King.
Four performances of Superstars will be held at the Civic Theatre from March 8 to 10.
Stoddart hopes the mainstream appeal of Superstars will elevate Newcastle's theatre talent and expand the audience.
"We've just done Billy Elliott at the Civic Theatre and we're pushing a model where we've played for three weeks, and if we can get to that fourth week of ticket sales, that allows us to pay our cast professional rates here in Newcastle," Stoddart said.
"We're trying to educate our audience and build an audience of traditional theatre-goers and also tap into non-traditional theatre-goers, people you would see at a Paul McCartney concert or a Newcastle Knights football game."
Superstars also offers Newcastle's top talent with the invaluable experience of working next to theatre queens Prior and Paladino.
"Actually being able to see it demonstrated and evaluating your own professional experience against that, is really valuable," he said.
It's also a rewarding experience for Prior and Paladino.
In 2021 Paladino worked on Stoddart's production of Chess, while Prior regularly performs at Hunter venues and performed with David Hobson at Belmont 16s on Sunday.
"One of the wonderful things about getting older - and this is my 40th year in the industry - you feel that you have things to impart," Prior said.
"When I was a newcomer to the industry, working with people who were around a long time was invaluable.
"I've taken what they've given me and it's lovely to think I can pass that on and hopefully the next generation keeps going."
Both Prior and Paladino have had a long association with the work of Lloyd Webber. The 60-year-old soprano played Christine Daaé in the Australian premiere of Phantom of the Opera in the early '90s and Paladino made her name in Cats.
"You revisit it and remember all the wonderful times you had doing that show," Paladino said.